The online industry is pretty strange. If you develop and curate the world's largest encyclopedia off of volunteer labor, you're seen as a hero. If you send people free invitations to test and respond to your beta software, you're not just a hero… you're also cool. However, if you pay someone pennies on the dollar to do work, you're abusive and taking advantage of them. Pretty strange how that works… free is okay, cheap is not.
Google is the master of profiting off of free labor. They profit off of us every single day and in turn, we get to use their services and software. We're their indentured servants.
- We write valuable content and publish it on the Internet, allowing Google to serve it in search results, along with bid-placed advertising to our competitors. You're welcome, Google!
- We insert links in our content, allowing Google to determine the rank of the pages in those search results; therefore, increasing the value of the search… and increasing the bid competitiveness of those pay per click advertisements. You're welcome, Google!
- We write great content for Google on there own Wiki system (Knol). They've amassed over 1 million pages of knowledge to share …and place ads on. You're welcome, Google!
- We write incredible support documentation in their product forums. This must save their teams thousands of hours in technical documentation and customer support. You're welcome, Google!
- We test their software and supply free feedback and usability data on each of their beta products… saving them tens of millions in testing and support. You're welcome, Google!
- We add our products and goods to Google Shopping so they show up in results… and we paying Google a share of the sales… or they make money on paid advertisements for our competitors. You're welcome, Google!
- We use their browsers and services, adding all of our personal data, browsing data, and purchase history so that they can target us and sell more valuable advertising. You're welcome, Google!
Don't get me wrong… I'm along for the ride just like everyone else is. Our company utilizes Google Apps and the apps work fantastic. I use almost everything Google, including my Android phone… and I love all of it. I'm writing this post in Google Chrome.. it works great. I even like Google+. I write about Google products and services on Martech all the time!
I've also ranted a few times about Google. Through it all, though, I've not thought of leaving Google. Google's ability to draw on their audience by handing them free stuff is amazing. People literally beg to get in the door (as many of us did when Google+ launched).
You might argue that it's all voluntary.
Have you tried getting through a day on the Internet without Google being involved? I'm pretty sure that it's nearly impossible!
Next on the list for the Google masters? Display advertising curation. That's right… Google wants you to help make ads more relevant by having you click Google +1 buttons on the advertisements. I'm not making this up.
Display advertising is notoriously the bottom of the list for cost… and even worse for results. But if Google can enlist your assistance in improving how they are placing display advertising as well as judging the relevance and quality of the advertising… they can improve the results and make more money. What are you waiting on servants? Get to work!
You're welcome, Google!